Multi-State Surveys of New Teachers

We werre interested in learning whether findings from our study of  50 new teachers in Massachusetts would hold true for novices in other states.  We werre especially curious about how new teachers were hired, when and how they  interacted with colleagues, and whether they had access to the curriculum they needed. Using original surveys, Ed Liu, Susan Kardos, and David Kauffman surveyed random samples of new teachers in seven states (California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington) From these surveys we learned more about how new teachers experienced working in the context of their schools. 

Liu found that some teachers experienced timely, robust, school-based hiring in a process he called "Information-rich," while others were hired late and hastily in an "information-poor" process. Good hiring ensured that new teachers would have jobs that provided a good match between them and their schools, thus enhancing their satisfaction and the likelihood that they would remain.

Kardos found that teachers who had been assigned a mentor were not necessarily supported in their work.  Often they were mismatched with a mentor in another subject, grade-level, or school.  Moreover, few mentors were trained or given the time to work closely with the novice.  New teachers who worked regularly with colleagues with all levels of experience from their grade level or subject area were more likely to report being satisfied with their school than were teachers who had been assigned a mentor. 

Kauffman, whose study focussed on elementary teachers, found that many did not have the curriculum they needed to teach the subjects they were assigned. They were more likely to have a complete curriculum in reading and math than in social studies and science.

In analyzing the findings across all three studies, we found that teachers working in low-income schools were more likely than were their counterparts in high-income schoos to experience late, inadequate hiring; isolation or irregular interaction with colleagues; and insufficient curriculum .